Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States after New York. It is located in the south of the State of California, on the Pacific coast . What to do in the City of Angels, the city of dreams, the city of movies? Here are 10 top suggestions:
Planning to visit L.A? Great! But what are the must attractions to put on your bucket list? Especially if your time is limited. Where to start? What to see?
Here are 10 things to do in Los Angeles
1- Take a selfie with the HOLLYWOOD sign in the background
You are in Paris? Look for the Eiffel Tower. You are in L.A.? You must see with your own eyes the Hollywood sign ! That’s just the way it is.
Be aware: we can not walk up to the Hollywood sign and touch it. It is mounted on the southern slope of Mount Lee overlooking Hollywood, it is fenced and intrusion on the property around the sign will be addressed by the park guards and escorted off the property. Anyway, if you could walk to the Hollywood sign , you would not have a very good overview as each letter is approximately 14 meters high. There are several places where you have a beautiful view of the famous white letters.
One of the classic places to take your photo is the 3000 Canyon Lake Drive , where you can park directly (and legally ) on the street. You also get a nice view from the Hollywood & Highland Mall or from the Griffith Park Observatory. You are free to try to find a more original place to get the best shot ” I’m in LA bitch “, but many places are closed to tourists.
2- Take a walk on the Walk of Fame… and look down at the sidewalk!
The Walk of Fame is a very famous sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard between Gower Street and Brea Avenue as well as on Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset Boulevard . 2400 figures from the world of entertainment (film, television , music) are immortalized in pink terrazzo stars and gold letters on the Walk of Fame. Among the most popular stars, we can find Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Micheal Jackson and even Michey Mouse. To learn more about the stars and their stars or to find your favorite artist, visit walkoffame.com.
If you ‘re in the neighborhood, you must also pass by the TCL Chinese Theatre where are the famous hand and foot prints of celebrities in the cement. You can also visit the theater to learn its history and some fun facts about Hollywood. For more information or to book online, visit tclchinesetheatres.com.
Since this is one of the most famous and recognized sites, the TLC Chinese Theater and Hollywood Walk of Fame are really must-sees attractions, but obviously one of the most touristic places of the region. If you are lucky, you might get by when there is a star ceremony or a movie premiere .
3- Stalk in Beverly Hills in search of the most beautiful celebrity house
Beverly Hills, the only state which I know by heart the zip code … (90210 ), is a district which concentrates the most expensive houses in the world, huge and very luxurious. The heart ofBeverly Hills is located around Rodeo Drive (see point 5). Many celebrities live in this area, of course.
Driving around this area, looking at the nice houses is pour zyeuter les maisons is an experience in itself. For those who wish to approach the villas of Hollywood stars, you can take the tram and follow the ” Celebrity Tour ” or other organized tours. You can also simply visit the area by car. You will find “star maps ” sold everywhere on Sunset Boulevard . Be aware that you will not go very far; homes are protected by fences and hedges.
You can walk past the former home ofAlfred Hitchcock at 910 Bel Air Road, of Micheal Jackson at 100 Carolwood Drive, of Elvis Presley at 144 Carolwood Drive, of Walt Disney at 355 Carolwood Drive, of Madonna at 6342 Mulholand Drive, of Charlie Chaplin at 1085 Summit Drive etc. etc. And without counting the stars who live there today.
4- Observe how we do ice cream at the Ice Cream Lab… and eat it!
Well, well, this is perhaps not a tourist attraction of world-renowned, but if you are a bit foodie and you love ice cream, a visit to the Ice Cream Lab is a must! You will find a Ice Cream Lab in Little Tokyo in the heart of LA and one in Beverly Hills. What’s special about it? The concept of the Ice Cream Lab revolves around the concept of molecular gastronomy, using liquid nitrogen to freeze instantly different natural ingredients into ice cream. This preparation process is quite innovative and impressive, since you see the production on site, in addition to giving a delicious result. Using fresh, natural ingredients to create ice cream, it is not necessary to add artificial colors or preservatives that are used to make normal ice cream.
The flavors available vary depending on the week. When I went, I chose Blue Velvet, made with vanilla ice cream mixed with blueberry cupcake and cream cheese; it was so delicious! My boyfriend was not able to resist the Salt Lick Crunch, made with vanilla ice cream mixed with pretzel, caramel and sea salt. You can look at the flavors available here .
5-Take yourself for Julia Roberts on Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive is a shopping street in Beverly Hills, world-renowned for its luxury boutiques and known as one of the most expensive in the world. The famous part of Rodeo Drive is between Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevard. On this little street you will see all the luxury boutiques of the most prestigious brands, such as Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Gucci, Cartier, Christian Dior, Hermès, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tiffany, Versace, Prada, Dolce Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent etc.
It is true that your budget may not allow you to buy high-end clothing designers, as immortalized in the famous shopping scene with (Julia Roberts) in the movie Pretty Woman, but a shopping session, or rather window shopping on Rodeo Drive, the epitome of luxury and style is quite an experience. The street is very classy, very pleasant to look at with spectacular showcases of the designer shops. Also, don’t be too intimidated to go in there: the owners and sellers are used to tourists who have little intention in buying, however, some stores are out of reach of tourists and require an appointment to get in. On Rodeo Drive, you’re also likely to find luxury cars parked along the sidewalk or to cross a celebrity during a shopping spree. For more information, visit the official web site of Rodeo Drive .
6- Take a sunbath on the beach along the Santa Monica Bay
The Santa Monica Bay is a Pacific Ocean cove in the southwest of Los Angeles, California. The Santa Monica Bay is the location of some of the most famous beaches in the world, including Will Rogers State Beach, Santa Monica State Beach and Malibu Lagoon State Beach, made famous worldwide thanks to the series Baywatch! So why not put on your red onepiece to run in slow motion on the beach of Malibu ? Other popular beaches in the area are Manhattan Beach; a good place for beach volley, Zuma Beach; one of the biggest and most popular beach of LA, or El Matador Beach; a beach where the rocks make a unique and unusual aspect. Finally, Surfrider County Beach is apparently one of the best California surfing beaches.
The weather is almost always perfect around Santa Monica Bay and beaches present a wealth of attractions. You can very well walk there on foot or go around by bike: the bicycle path along Santa Monica of 35 km is the longest beach bicycle track in the world. Along the Santa Monica Bay , there are several pier extending into the bay, including Malibu Pier, Santa Monica Pier, Hermosa Beach Pier, Redondo Beach Pier and Marina Del Rey.
7-Take it cool in Venice Beach
Developed in the early 20th century, Venice Beach is modeled after its namesake city in Italy. In 1906, visitors could use the gondolas on the canals created in the city. Today, there is definitely a very special vibe in Venice Beach; a cool atmosphere and a little hippy. The bohemian neighborhood is both bizarre, intriguing, and totally Los Angeles. We love or hate, but Venice Beach leaves no one indifferent .
On the promenade along the beach, you will find outdoor shops, sort of a flea market style: Doctor Weed who prescribes cannabis for all sorts of reason , boutiques that sell bohemian fashion items, in addition to cross all kinds of people: street performers, skaters, muscles men, fortune tellers, sword swallower, man band etc. Pretty entertaining! Another particular aspect; the famous skate parks on the beach, as seen in several movies or video games. The waves were really big when I went, which is not always easy to take a swim. Anyway, to take a sun bath is the activity of choice here. The walls are covered with graffiti to add up to this already colorful atmosphere. Although you can walk around during the day without problems, it is recommended to avoid the beach area at night.
8- Go out on Sunset Boulevard… after sunset
Sunset Boulevard runs from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. His most famous stretch is probably the Sunset Strip running through West Hollywood in Crescent Heights and Doheny Drive , on the north side of the Los Angeles area. This emblematic artery of the United States is the scene of several famous films, including the obvious classic, ” Sunset Boulevard .”
In daytime, this place is pretty quiet, except for some shopping activities. At night, the street is lined with nightclubs, iconic panels and lit by neon lights. Sunset Strip is an emblematic place, with famous clubs and venues such as Whisky A Go Go, le Rainbow Bar & Grill et The Roxy Theatre. Warning; parking can be almost impossible in the evenings
9-Discover the universe of Universal Studios… a whole day!
Los Angeles is the world capital of entertainment, and for movie fans the ultimate experience is a visit to the studio scenes. Universal Studios has a well deserved reputation and worth the trip! Originally created to offer tours of the famous recording studios and film sets, Universal Studios has evolved into a full-fledged theme park. You will therefore find many indoor roundabout with 3D screen projection. The movies themes featured vary depending of the moment. When I went there, minions were everywhere! The many fans of Simpsons will undoubtedly appreciate to make a turn to Krusty Land or Kwik-E-Mart to drink a Duff (do not worry , children can drink , this is just orange soda). Several live shows are also presented as Waterworld. Horror fans will enjoy the Halloween season in which the studio is transformed into true zombies park at night! Since I visited in October, I had a glimpse when I was there… Very gore!
But the best attraction in my opinion remains the « Studio Tour »! The tour is super interesting and fun and is included in the price of the entrance ticket, so do not miss it! You will have the opportunity to go on the fake Hollywood streets in which many movies were filmed. You will pass the street of Desperate Housewives , you will see the famous Hollywood cars of Fast and Furious and others, the plane crash of War of the Worlds, and you will see how rain is done in Hollywood. The « Studio Tour » experience also includes King Kong 360 3-D created by Peter Jackson . The narration of the visit is done with humor by comedian Jimmy Fallon , but is also available in French, Spanish and Mandarin.
Universal Studios is just northwest of Hollywood. The best way to get there is by car and parking is available on site. Universal Studios welcomes hordes of tourists every day, so be prepared for long queues everywhere. Tickets are around $100 US per person. For more information on attractions, tickets and opening hours, visit the website Universal Studios.
10- Soak in some culture and arts in a museum of L.A.
A museum in L.A.? Why not! The Getty Center is one of the most impressive architectural achievements in the United States. The circular structure of concrete and steel designed by the famous architect Richard Meier . Le Getty Museum also contains some of the finest works of art in the world. Here you will find the Renaissance paintings of the 20th century, classic American photography, baroque sculptures, Byzantine manuscripts as well as several paintings of Rubens and some of impressionist painters such as Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and Van Gogh.
Entrance to the museum is free and no reservation is required! It is suggested to take a guided tour to learn interesting, relevant and amazing aspects of the art. The museum also offers a spectacular view of Los Angeles in clear weather. For more information on opening hours and exhibitions visit the Getty Center web site.
Another museum to discover L.A. : the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (ou LACMA) which contains a lot of contemporary art. You can see notably ” Ceci n’est pas une pipe” , painted by René Magritte .
Have a good trip and enjoy multiple things to do in Los Angeles.